So, you've decided to work with Kickstarter, and can't wait to get your business, idea, product or service onto the site as fast as humanely possible. I dub it "launch lust," a condition I've seen even venture-backed startups rush to. They want to be out in the market for some fear that someone else will jump ahead of them. However, those who fail to plan plan to fail, and there's a great benefit to having patience with crowdfunding specifically because of the limited timeline. You usually only get one shot--of press, of marketing spend and of consumer interest.
There's a lot that needs to get done before your launch goes live. On some platforms, it's really tough to go back in and change things, or you might be required to mass mail your supporters to announce big changes. There're tons of things that every business, and especially crowdfunding campaign managers can do that don't look very professional (and every one of them should read that link) that will hurt their Kickstarter campaign far, far more.
There're a lot of ducks to get in a row before you launch, and as sexy as it may sound to get it out there as quickly as possible, you should treat the whole thing like writing; you don't want even your final draft to go out there without one last once-over. Here are a few of the best things you can do to make sure you have a successful Kickstarter:
1. Read the Kickstarter rules over and over again: There's no such thing as looking at the fine print too many times. If necessary, write down the requirements on a spreadsheet and check them off as you go. Compare the website to your spreadsheet at least three times, and make sure every item is truly covered at least three times. You don't want your Kickstarter removed just because you overlooked a task. You can even ask them if you're doing it right--they're quite friendly.
2. Draft a business plan: If your Kickstarter involves actually starting a business--not just a single product (invention) or idea--make sure you have your business plan written prior to launch. In fact, your Kickstarter should be in your business plan. This is where you set goals, identify strengths and weakness, identify potential investors in addition to crowdfunding, and set budgets. Your mission statement can go in here, job descriptions, and what you'll do in various scenarios. I'd actually recommend this if you're doing anything that involves any kind of physical product on any crowdfunding platform.
3. Get a writer: A well-written campaign will be a better-selling campaign. Writing from an expert who has experience in Kickstarter campaigns will trump your work, unless someone on your team is truly a writer (which means they've been paid for this skill more than a few times by legitimate publications). Then, by all means, have them create the first draft. Whatever you do, a great writer's passion will shine through. Whatever happens, you want a true professional to write your page, even if it sets you back a few dollars.
4. Get an editor: The human brain is very smart and good at filling in the blanks (and ignoring typos). Remember: you're selling something that doesn't fully exist yet, and thus you want to be as legitimate-looking as possible. An errant typo might be forgivable, but if your page reads poorly and doesn't fill the customer with confidence, you're doomed. It's really worth it to find a professional editor, preferably one who's got a good eye for marketing copy. I guarantee there will be, thanks to an objective eye, a significant improvement in the page itself, as well as a lot of grammatical and typographical mishaps avoided. Even if your writer is amazing, you want to make sure nothing slipped through.
5. Create a great video: Every single great Kickstarter campaign has a great video. These can be short but should be professionally-shot, ideally include the product in them in as obvious and "real" a form as possible. People love to see videos that aren't just you saying how great your product is, but you saying how much you love it, showing what it does and telling them why they will love it. Aim for less than three minutes and splurge on that professional touch. Choose the most charismatic of your crew to "star" in it and make sure you practice, create a script, and edit the final version well. It sounds mean, but if someone's hard to understand, your campaign video won't be well-received.
6. Have a Plan B: There's no guarantee that your Kickstarter will get funded--whether fully or otherwise--which is why Indiegogo offers flexible funding (IE: you don't have to hit your goal). Don't rely solely on Kickstarter to get your business started and have a solid Plan B in place. What will you do if the Kickstarter falls through? Know your next steps, even if they're going to be painful ones.
Kickstarters can be a fantastic way to drum up hype even if you don't end up with the funding you need. A well-done campaign can market a product for you, build up excitement before it's ready and help people feel like insiders on the next big thing.
If you're curious, Infographics.Space has some great examples in the below infographic about the most successful Kickstarter campaigns. It's worth checking out their pages, too, to understand how they marketed their products to their potential backers.